When you’re in the depths of despair or experiencing the onset of a panic attack, pounding your chest, gorilla style, might seem rather silly. But there’s method in the madness, according to intuitive coach Jody Shield, who describes it as an “effective self-help tool that helps quickly release negative emotions such as anxiety, stress or fear.”
Tapping is a self-care practice that works in a similar way to acupuncture and acupressure, designed to provide relief from chronic pain, disorders, phobias and emotional problems. It’s a holistic, alternative therapy, not to be confused with medicine.
The practice, also known as emotional freedom technique (EFT) is more than 5,000 years old, with its origins in Eastern healing techniques. Fast-forward to today, and we think you’ll be hearing a lot more about it, with celebrities such as Lily Allen and Naomi Harris rumoured to be fans.
Jody Shield is a Meditation Ambassador for Lululemon and self-help author of Self-Care For the Soul, launching next month. She also practices Tapping, describing it as an “effective self-help tool that helps quickly release negative emotions such as anxiety, stress or fear.”
For those who fear acupuncture needles, tapping may be worth a try – it is easy and painless. “Anyone can learn it and use it anywhere and anytime,” Jody says. “Similar to acupuncture, EFT uses the body’s energy meridian points, which are stimulated by tapping on them with your fingertips.”
The Chinese believed there are more than 100 meridian points, located along the pathway through which energy flows and circulates throughout our body.
“The basic technique asks you to focus on a negative emotion such as fear or anxiety. While staying focused on that emotion, you tap on each of the meridian points three to seven times, repeating phrases that focus on the issue. You start with the karate chop point (side of the hand) and tap this three times while saying a phrase. You then shorten the phrase and tap the around the following points: the eyebrow, side of the eye, under eye, under nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, top of the head,” Jody says.
The way it apparently works is through sending signals to the amygdala, the fight or flight part of the brain, to relax. “As soon as this happens, anxiety is immediately reduced,” Jody says.
You could try Jody’s below Tapping sequence at home when you’re feeling anxious.
A) Start by tapping on the karate chop point. Tap on each point approximately times. As you tap repeat the following phrase three times:
Even though I’m feeling overwhelmed and fearful, I accept who I am, and how I feel (x 3)
B) Continue tapping on the other points and say each of these out loud as you do:
Eyebrow: I’m feeling really overwhelmed
Side of the eye: All this stuff happening
Under eye: I’m really stressed out
Under nose: What if I miss something?
Chin: What if it all gets too much?
Collarbone: I’m so overwhelmed right now
Under arm: And I don’t know how to move through it
Top of the head: So much happening right now
Eyebrow: And I can’t cope with it all
Side of the eye: What if I miss something?
Under eye: And then I’ll mess up
Under nose: And I feel anxious just thinking about it
Chin: I’m stressed out
Collarbone: I’m feeling overwhelmed
Under arm: With all I have on
Top of head: I can’t think straight!
C) Take a deep breath in and exhale. Then continue to tap and repeat the sequences until you feel calmer and more relieved. When you feel relief, tap through a ‘positive round’ and say each phrase below out loud:
Eyebrow: I know I can move through this
Side of the eye: I know I have the strength inside
Under eye: I choose to believe i’ll get through this
Under nose: I know I can find my power inside
Chin: I believe this is my journey now
Collarbone: I know I can move through this
Under arm: And feel good about myself again
Top of head: I choose to believe in my inner strength